Hmm… well, if you’re into western movies, you’ll probably dig this album. I’m still kind of hesitant on western movies, although I loved Django Unchained. I know, I know, that’s a “modern” western. That’s partially why I liked it. Very violent, very brash. There’s also a TV series called Hatfield & McCoy that I watched with my friend Renee that I got pretty deep into. And I played the fuck out of Red Dead Redemption, several years after its release. See? Hesitant.
Anyway, this album is cool if you’re up for it. There aren’t many conceivable occasions in my life I can imagine putting this album on by choice, but I enjoyed it as part of this project. Maybe you will, too.
Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs is an album released by Marty Robbins on the Columbia Records label in September 1959, peaking at #6 on the U.S. pop albums chart. It was recorded on April 7, 1959, and was certified a gold record by the RIAA in 1965. It is perhaps best known for Robbins’ most successful single, “El Paso“, a major hit on both the country and pop music charts. It reached #1 in both charts at the start of 1960 and won the Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording the following year.
AllMusic gave the album four-and-a-half stars, calling it “the single most influential album of Western songs in post-World War II American music”. It is included in every revision of the list of 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
Years after the album’s release, members of the Western Writers of America chose six of its songs as being among the Top 100 Western Songs of all time. Three of them were written by Robbins: “El Paso”, “Big Iron”, and “The Master’s Call”. Three were written and previously recorded by others: “Cool Water”, “Billy the Kid”, and “The Strawberry Roan”.
In 1999 the album was reissued for compact disc on the Legacy Records label with the tracks resequenced and with three bonus tracks, including the full length version of “El Paso”. It was part of Sony’s American Milestones reissue series for classic country and western albums including, among others, At Folsom Prison by Johnny Cash and Red Headed Stranger by Willie Nelson.
|1.||“Big Iron“||Marty Robbins||3:56|
|2.||“Cool Water“||Bob Nolan||3:09|
|3.||“Billy the Kid”||traditional||2:19|
|4.||“A Hundred and Sixty Acres”||David Kapp||1:40|
|5.||“They’re Hanging Me Tonight”||James Low, Art Wolpert||3:05|
|6.||“The Strawberry Roan”||traditional||3:25|
|1.||“El Paso“||Marty Robbins||4:19|
|2.||“In The Valley”||Marty Robbins||1:48|
|3.||“The Master’s Call”||Marty Robbins||3:05|
|4.||“Running Gun”||Tompall Glaser, Jim Glaser||2:10|
|5.||“The Little Green Valley”||Carson Robison||2:26|
1999 reissue track listing
|1.||“Big Iron”||Marty Robbins||3:56|
|2.||“A Hundred and Sixty Acres”||David Kapp||1:40|
|3.||“They’re Hanging Me Tonight”||James Low, Art Wolpert||3:05|
|4.||“Cool Water”||Bob Nolan||3:09|
|5.||“Billy the Kid”||traditional||2:19|
|7.||“The Strawberry Roan”||traditional||3:25|
|8.||“The Master’s Call”||Marty Robbins||3:05|
|9.||“Running Gun”||Tompall Glaser, Jim Glaser||2:10|
|10.||“El Paso”||Marty Robbins||4:19|
|11.||“In The Valley”||Marty Robbins||1:48|
|12.||“The Little Green Valley”||Carson Robison||2:26|
|13.||“The Hanging Tree“||Jerry Livingston, Mack David||2:50|
|14.||“Saddle Tramp”||Marty Robbins||2:03|
|15.||“El Paso” (full length version)||Marty Robbins||4:38|
- Marty Robbins — vocals, guitar
- Grady Martin, Jack Pruett — guitars
- Bob Moore — bass
- Louis Dunn — drums
- Tompall & the Glaser Brothers — backing vocals